What Is Marketing Myopia? Complications And Dealing With The Problem

by CJ McDaniel // January 13  

Marketing myopia was coined in 1960 by Theodore Levitt. It is a term that summarizes what business owners focus on and what they neglect through the act of fear or omission.

Most times, business entities focus on the immediate needs of the organization instead of long-term marketing solutions from the customer point of view. For instance, a company ha focusses on sales more than learning more about customer needs for a more effective marketing strategy suffers marketing myopia.

A company suffering from marking myopia has is leads all about the company. Their business or marketing copy does not address customers’ problems. Heir company or marketing or promotional ads are simply uninspiring.

What is Marketing Myopia?

Marketing myopia is a situation where a business organization has a narrow-minded marketing approach or strategy and it remained focused on only one aspect out of many possible marketing attributes. 

For instance, a company that focuses on the quality of marketing and not on actual customer demand is showing a sign of marketing myopia. Many business organizations have folded up because they were practicing marketing myopia without their knowledge. 

When Does Marketing Myopia Strike A Business Organization?

Marketing myopia strikes when short-term marketing goals are prioritized over long-term goals. Some instances where marketing myopia strikes include the following;

  1. When there is more focus on selling rather than building a very strong relationship with customers.
  2. Predicting business growth without conducting thorough market research.
  3. Producing products in mass without the knowledge of customer demands.
  4. Attaching more importance to just one aspect of marketing attributes without paying attention to what customers need.
  5. Not changing with the dynamic customer environment.

Marketing Myopia And He Self-Deceiving Cycle

According to Levitt, the man who coined marketing myopia, the business should be seen as a customer satisfying institution. For this reason, all business activities, including marketing should be based on the needs of customers.

Business is supposed to develop and work towards a vision rather than just a goal. Business owners should be able to see themselves at a point where they are ahead of their previous positions. They should set these visions according to their present capabilities and not future projected capabilities. Business owners must also assess their competitors and watch customer trends. Any business ha fails to keep to these principles will find itself trapped in the self-deceiving cycle.

What Are The Situations That Can Lead To Self-Deceiving Cycle And Business Myopia?

There is a wide range of conditions that often trigger marketing myopia, and the earlier business owners do away with such, the earlier they can set realistic targets through marketing and promotional means to drive sales by meeting the needs of consumers.

Conditions that rigger self-deceiving cycle that leads to marketing myopia are as follows;

  • The belief that the growth of a business is guaranteed by growth in population.
  • The belief that no serious competition or substitute exists for the company or company’s products.
  • The belief that supply will naturally create its own demand, hence the need for mass production, and
  • The over-estimation of the qualities of the company’s product without conducting and backing up such quality claims with scientific research.

If as a business owner you always think of the absence of future problems, you should have a rethink right away!

Step-Child Treatment And Marketing Myopia

Many business owners often treat their businesses as their children and their customers as their step kids. For this reason, they end up spending most of their resources on developing new products and revamping old ones while spending much fewer resources on conducting marketing research.

His singular act often backfires as the stepchild (customers) turns out to be the determinant of the success of the business.

Examples Of Marketing Myopia Situations

The following are examples of top businesses that suffer huge losses as a result of marketing myopia;

  1. Kodak, one of the long-time cameras and accessory manufacturers suffer a huge loss by selling most of its shares to Sony cameras when digital cameras become a major success. Kodak never prepared for this because they never knew customers’ tastes and preferences will change.
  2. Nokia never suspected that marketing myopia will one day be responsible for their losses to IOS and Android platforms.
  3. Yahoo was worth approximately $100 billion in the year 2000 but lost its market value and customers to Google. Yahoo was eventually bought by Verizon for a paltry $2 billion in the year 2016.

What Are The Implications Of Marketing Myopia?

The most devastating effect of marketing myopia is that you will eventually be forced out of business. The harsh reality is that marketing myopia will eventually lead to business failure.

This failure does not happen overnight, it begins when customers become dissatisfied with an aspect or several aspects of your products and service delivery. Your dissatisfied customers may complain and reach out to your customer care staff even on social media and a few of them will leave in the beginning.

Over time, this problem will be compounded with more customers leaving negative reviews about the company on internet forums. At this point, It becomes more difficult to acquire new customers and your business will turn worse.

Any business that fails to evolve will eventually be forced out. In the transport business, for instance, movements from point A to B used to be by horses but today, there are advanced, faster, and more convenient ways. Any transport business organization that still relies on horses will probably be out of business by now.

Will Marketing Myopia Continue In Business The Culture?

The answer is a simple yes! Business owners in many sectors of the economy are not learning from the failures caused by marketing myopia, hence the problem may persist into the future.

In the dry-cleaning industry, it is expected that new fibers and washing chemicals will emerge, and these will reduce the need to hire dry cleaners. Similarly, a shift to a more digital approach to shopping may make lots of grocery stores to disappear.

In the food business industry, the increase in awareness for healthier and more wholesome, unprocessed foods will force people to stay away from fast food joins- this may lead to the shutting down of such joints.

In the automobile industry, the steady increase in the demand for cleaner electric cars will force many automobile companies to close shop. In the energy industry, the increase in demand for renewable energy will force people to abandon fossil fuels for cleaner hydro, solar, and wind energy.

With all these examples and scenarios given, there is one major problem all businesses must deal with and ha is marketing myopia. Any organization that fails to put customers’ needs and preferences or trends first will surely be forced out of business.

Moving Beyond Marketing Myopia -Dealing With The Problem

Knowing that marketing is a result of businesses losing touch with their customers’ realities is the first step towards dealing with the problem. To this end, you should be ready to move beyond marketing myopia when you are ready for customer development.

Customer development will ensure that you are always abreast of the needs and wants of your loyal and prospective customers. You can truly become innovative if you follow what your customers say and if you can interpret their behavioral trends.

Customer development also means you learn to understand the job they need to get done and you incorporate some novel ways to help them achieve their goals conveniently. It could be a difficult task to achieve in the beginning but it will eventually bring longevity, more trust, and more value to your business.

A customer development survey is one of the steps you should take to learn about customers’ intentions and concerns. Ask your customers and potential customers a series of questions about your products and services and segment the questionnaires into groups based on demographics, and demographic markers.

You should optimize your customer survey for the most engaged customers. The survey should have open-ended questions and request contact phone, and email as a follow up to the survey. Make sure the surveys are short and straightforward. You must also do follow up via email and phone calls.


Marketing myopia has real implications for your business. Being ignorant of marketing myopia may lead to a slow decline in business. You must work towards preventing marketing myopia before it affects your bottom line.

There are simple steps you can take to checkmate marketing myopia. You must understand the jobs your customer needs to be done. You must also engage in constant communication with your customers.

In addition to the survey, you must instigate customer interaction on your social media profiles to understand their needs, fear, and aspirations. In addition to these steps, you must also find means of understudying your competitors to see what they add to their products and services to lure customers from your business.

The more you know about your competitors, the more innovative you become in copying or doing much better than what they do.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!